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Verizon set to join the 3 Mbps, VoIP clubs

Tue, 05/04/2004 - 8:00pm
Karen Brown

Verizon Inc. is the latest Bell operator to rev up its digital subscriber line connection, announcing it will add a 3 Megabit per second tier and a voice-over IP package this summer.

Available to qualified customers, the new high-speed tier will offer a 3 Mbps downstream, 768 kilobits per second upstream connection. It also will introduce a consumer VoIP service at a discount to qualified Verizon DSL customers.

"We've created one of the best overall values in broadband today, with content, speed, and great service at a very affordable price," said Judy Verses, Verizon's senior vice president of marketing for the company's retail markets group, in a release. "Our sales growth shows that when consumers in the mass market think about broadband, more and more often they're choosing DSL for their high-speed connection. And we're not stopping now."

Pricing for the two offerings has yet to be announced, although the official company release indicated it "will be highly competitive."

In addition to the two new offerings, Verizon will be bumping up the upstream on its 1.5 Mbps DSL service from 128 kbps to 384 kbps, while keeping the price at $34.95 monthly when purchased with a voice or video bundle, and $29.95 stand-alone.

"Fifty-one percent of Verizon's residential customers have purchased local calling in combination with either Verizon long-distance or Verizon DSL, or both," said Verses. "Our ability to offer customers a compelling array of local, long-distance, wireless, broadband and video services is unmatched by our cable competitors. Expanding our DSL service will allow us to offer even more innovative packages that include services like voice-over-IP."

The expanded DSL offerings come on the heels of a record first quarter for Verizon and other Bell operators offering broadband services. Verizon gained 345,000 new subscribers, raising its DSL customer base to 2.7 million high-speed residential connections.

And the Bell operators for the first time may have won the broadband new subscriber race in the first quarter. With Cablevision Systems Corp. and Charter Communications Inc. earnings not yet in, some industry analysts are already predicting that the 1.05 million new DSL customers netted by Verizon, SBC Communications Inc., BellSouth Corp. and Qwest Communications International Inc. will top the cumulative cable modem new subscriber additions racked up by MSOs.

A recent Pew Internet and American Life study indicated DSL has gained a 42 percent share of the broadband market, up from just 28 percent in March 2003.

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